Being a parent has never been easy, and now the many changes that COVID-19 has brought make it even harder. From adjusting to being with the kids all the time, to talking with kids about a scary thing happening in the world, to managing our own feelings or worries – parents are holding a lot more during aHere is a collection of resources and tips for parents and caregivers on some parenting techniques that may be helpful during COVID-19.
*We’ll continue to update this page with more findings & offerings.
We, as adults, have some big, complicated feelings about everything that’s going on in the world with Coronavirus. And kids have these big feelings too! Except that kids may not have the words or the ability to understand or express those feelings, or all the information to know what’s going on. Not to mention all the big feelings about the changes in their every day routine!
This can be scary or dysregulating for kids, and can often come out in different ways like more anger, meltdowns, hitting, or shut downs. As a parent – reflecting what kids are feeling is a helpful way to help kids understand what they might be feeling.
For some children, it might be hard to understand why you can’t spend time with them despite being at home. Creating a list together and setting expectations on what activities you can do together and when you can do them together can be beneficial in setting expectations and building bonds with your child. It also gives your children things to look forward to in the day.
Creating a routine to help provide structure in the sudden shift in your child’s life can help create a sense of safety and alleviate unnecessary stress from the day. Routines can take many different forms, from full morning routines to hand washing routines. You can create a routine and build in structure for any activity you are wanting to do with your children. Click on the blue bar for more information on setting routines.
Setting routines for children helps to build structure, create safety, and set boundaries in their everyday lives. It takes out unnecessary stress from the day – for kids and even more so for parents! Having a consistent schedule or routine helps children know what to expect and when to expect it, which creates more predictability and security, especially during difficult times. It helps you as a parent set appropriate limitations, and make life more predictable in the home.
Plan out the routine: Identify what routine you want to introduce to your children and write out a schedule you want to keep to. Being prepared with a plan will help you better implement it with your children and problem-solve in the moment.
Modeling the Routine: Showing your children the behavior you want to see from them helps them better understand what you’re expecting from them – and also teaches them how to do it!
Ask-Say-Do: When your child(ren) are having trouble or do not follow the routine, use Ask-Say-Do as a way to remind and demonstrate what the desired behavior is. This happens immediately after an undesired behavior happens.
Praising Desired Behavior: When you see your child doing the behaviors or activities you want, take time to praise them! It could be big or small – children are more likely to do things that are getting them positive attention and recognition.
Don’t be discouraged! Establishing new routines may be met with some resistance and take some time for kids to get used to, especially during a time where they are already adjusting to big changes. Continue to follow through consistently, and celebrate the wins!
Allow your children to choose an activity for you to together and lead! This allows you to give your child dedicated attention, strengthen your connection, and also allow your child to feel a sense of control during a very confusing time. Hand in Hand Parenting has some great tips on how to successfully create Special Time with your children.
If you’re an anxious parent hoping to break the cycle of worry, we highly recommend the parenting book, Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents: 7 Ways to Stop the Worry Cycle and Raise Courageous and Independent Children.
It’s hard to take care of your kids and manage their feelings when you’re feeling stressed yourself. Self-care can be simple and doesn’t need to be expensive.
Additional resources to provide more support to you and your family as you adjust
Tips for Adjusting to Coronavirus
Talking to Kids about Coronavirus